Pelwatte strives to cater local consumer demand for dairy products despite Covid-19 challenges

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 in terms of the consumer demand management, the local dairy industry leader, Pelwatte, has taken measures to ensure that the local consumers are provided with uninterrupted access to the brand, through an established delivery framework, in the curfew instilled districts.

In the Sri Lankan context, the estimated annual demand for milk is the equivalent of 745 million litres (Colombo/Jan27/2020), as such, it is a staple among the Sri Lankans. Thereby despite the challenges of COVID-19, there was the necessity to provide access of the dairy products to the homesteads of the local consumers who were not in a position to access milk powder and other dairy products otherwise. Considering same, Pelwatte initiated a delivery mechanism to deliver different dairy product consignments to the consumers in need.

Accordingly, the company launched the delivery service in April, along with several package options that would include their product range ( full cream milk/ butter/yoghurt/ice cream). The packages were delivered to the customer locations with free delivery during the curfew periods.  The delivery operation was conducted from 28th March to 1st May 2020 and Pelwatte has received overwhelming feedback from the customers of Cololmbo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts. The customers have reverted with requests to continue the practice without a break.          

“In response to the government’s directive on social distancing and as a means of meeting the consumer demand for dairy products we launched the dairy essential delivery service in the high alert districts. We initiated an order placement process through our social media channels and the delivery was done free of charge. We were able to serve around 30,000 families with the door to door service” stated Akmal Wickramanayake, Managing Director, Pelwatte Dairy Industries.

The centralized home delivery system is managed via Pelwatte’s Kelaniya sub warehouse. The 4 different home delivery packages ranging from LKR 1500 to LKR 5000, were introduced considering customer budget and requirement.

The initiative was met with a positive feedback of the consumers due to the well thought out delivery chain with well managed logistics, along with well aligned stock maintenance. The company initiated the service with limited resourced but managed to fulfill consumer demands. As such, Pelwatte hopes to streamline this service in areas where there is the need in order to serve more clientele. The company is currently is considering on the additional resources that are required for a better service.

“The entire process has been a learning curve for us, in managing supply x demand while  being confronted with an unprecedented public health crisis. As many other companies we concentrated concentrated first on ensuring employee safety and supporting our local community of dairy farmers. Secondly we had to test out delivery as a mechanism to meet the consumer demand.he Covid-19 crisis has thrown a spotlight on how companies need to adjust their consumer reach. Therefore, for Pelwatte our decision to tap into delivery driven sales chain played a critical role, in retaining consumer satisfaction and in turn gives us hope for reaching the GOSL’s goals on self sufficiency in milk and more local products, post COVID-19 recovery,” added Wickramanayake.

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